Research Centre for Literature and Art, BNU
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​The BNU Research Center for Literature and Art was founded in 2000. The Center was formerly the Teaching and Research Office of Literary Theory, which was founded in 1953 as first teaching and research office of literary theory in China. Under the guidance of Huang Yaomian, a famous literary theorist in China, the Teaching and Research Office of Literary Theory formulated China’s first syllabus of Introduction to Literary Theory and set up the country’s first postgraduate program, making important contributions to the establishment and development of the discipline of Chinese literary theory. In 1983, the Research Office established China’s first doctoral degree program of literary theory among national universities. Since 1987, faculty have worked together under the leadership of Professor Tong Qingbing, making great achievements in research areas such as Chinese-Western comparative poetics, literary psychology and stylistics.

In 2000, the BNU Research Center for Literature and Art was approved by the Ministry of Education as one of the 100 key humanities and social sciences research bases. Since then, the Center has been an active advocate of “cultural poetics” as a basic research method and academic paradigm of literary theory in order to transcend the pure “internal research” and “external research” methods of literary studies, and build up a literary theory with local characteristics. After many years, the “cultural poetics” has produced positive and significant impact on academic research, discipline construction and personnel training.

The Center is undertaking a series of major projects of the state key research base of humanities and social sciences funded by the Ministry of Education, and also carrying out or has completed more than 20 major projects, key projects, and general projects of the NSSFC and research projects of humanities and social sciences of the Ministry of Education.

The Center has held more than 20 international and domestic academic conferences since its establishment. It offers the academic course “Wenxin Lecture” to all teachers and students of the university, and regularly invites domestic and foreign scholars to give lectures. It also holds the Wenxin academic salon that is open to all researchers and graduate students of the Center. During regular salon activities, participants are free to exchange opinions on their research findings and cutting-edge academic issues.

The Center sponsors a professional academic publication named Culture and Poetics (24 issues have been released up to now, successively by Peking University Press, The Lianhe Publishing Company Ltd. and East China Normal University Press), and owns an academic website and a WeChat public account bnuwenyixue.

The first director of the Center (2000-2009) was Professor Tong Qingbing, senior professor of Beijing Normal University, national accredited doctoral supervisor, a literary theorist and educator. The second director (2009-2015) was Professor Li Chunqing. The current director is Professor Zhao Yong. The current deputy director is Professor Chen Taisheng. Currently, it has 15 full-time research fellows (Cheng Zhengmin, Li zhuangying, Li Chunqing, Fang Weigui, Cao Weidong, Zhao Yong, Ji Guangmao, Chen Taisheng, Chen Xuehu, Yao Aibin, Qian Han, Lyu Li, Zhang Bingwei, Liu Siyu and Li Sha) and more than 20 part-time research fellows from inside and outside the university. The Center has a many full-time research fellows. Of them, those aged below 60 mostly received their doctoral degrees from famous domestic universities and research institutions such as Beijing Normal University, Peking University and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and well-known foreign universities such as the University of Goettingen (Germany), Sorbonne University (France), University of Massachusetts (United States) and Oxford University (United Kingdom).

Previous academic committees of the Centers were composed of experts and scholars from famous universities and academic research institutions at home and abroad, including Tong Qingbing, Li Chunqing, Fang Weigui, Guo Yingde, Luo Gang, Tao Dongfeng, Wang Yichuan, Zhao Yong, Zhang Yongqing, Zhang Zhengwen and Chen Taisheng, who mostly come from Beijing Normal University, Peking University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China, CASS, Guangzhou University, etc.

The Research Center for Literature and Art has achieved fruitful achievements during the twenty years since its establishment:

1. Research on Major Issues in Literature Creation of Historical Works (Tong Qingbing et al., Economic Science Press, 2011)

The book is the achievement of the key program of philosophy and social sciences research funded by the Ministry of Education “Research on Major Issues in Literature Creation and Adaptation of Historical Works”. With a total length of 700,000 characters, the book puts forward and expounds the top ten issues in current literature creation of historical works, and gives a clear description of the eight features of literary creation at present. The research methods used are “cultural poetics” and interdisciplinary approaches, creating an inclusive sense of the times.

2. Annotation of Ancient Chinese Literary Theory (ten volumes) (edited by Li Zhuangyin, co-authored by Li Chunqing, Peking University Press, 2011-2012)

The series is the achievement of a major program of the key research base of humanities and social sciences under the Ministry of Education. It has ten volumes and covers about 5 million characters, making it the largest work of annotation of ancient Chinese literary theory. It condenses the profound academic knowledge and rigorous scholarship of the editing scholars of the BNU Research Center for Literature and Art, and  has been well received in the academic world.

3. National History of Marxist Literary Theory in the 20th Century (seven volumes) (edited by Cheng Zhengmin and Tong Qingbing, Peking University Press, 2012)

The series consists of seven volumes, totaling 2.64 million characters. In 2001, it is supported by the major project for the second phase of the key research base of humanities and social sciences “Research on the National History of Marxist Literary Theory in the 20th Century”, the key program of National Social Science Fund, and the Project 211 of the School of Chinese Language and Literature of Beijing Normal University.

4. The History of Literary Thoughts of Pre-Qin Period (edited by Li Chunqing, Beijing Normal University Press, 2012)

The work is one of the achievements of “National Social Science Fund for Post-funding Projects”. With a total length of 1 million characters, it covers all materials involving “artistic spirit” from the prehistoric painted pottery age to the Lao-Zhuang era of the Warring States Period. It features deep analysis of unearthed documents and cultural relics research findings, with clear clues and distinct characteristics, and is a significant and distinctive piece of work in the current history of Chinese literary ideology.

5. Series of Literary Theory Textbooks (edited by Tong Qingbing, Beijing Normal University Press, 2010-2011)

At the request of Beijing Normal University Press, the BNU Research Center for Literature and Art has compiled a series of literary theory textbooks. The compilation of this series follows the principle of “reproducing the classics” and the basic framework of “interpreting classical texts” and “outlining relevant issues”. They involve many topics such as China and the West, ancient times vs modern times and theory vs criticism, setting a good example for compilation of domestic literary theory textbooks. They have been highly praised from academia and teachers and students.

Moreover, the major programs of the state key research base of humanities and social sciences during the 13th Five-Year Plan period mainly focus on “Theoretical Exploration and Current Practice of Cultural Poetics”. The research is composed of five major programs, which involve important phenomena and problems in Chinese ancient, modern and contemporary literature and mass culture, as well as the latest developments of research on literary theory and mass culture in Europe, America and Russia. Its general framework is as follows: 1) Research on literary representations of Chinese cultural spirit, led by Li Chunqing and Tao Shuiping; 2) Research on the transformation and evolution of the discourse of modern Chinese literary theory, led by Chen Taisheng and Chen Xuehu; 3) Poetics research on the form, cause, evolution and evaluation of Chinese contemporary mass culture, led by Zhang Ning and Zhao Yong; 4) Research on the trends of western literary theories in the 21st century from the perspective of cultural poetics, led by Wang Min’an; 5) Russian cultural spirit and Russian poetics, led by Wang Zhigeng.

In recent years, the BNU Research Center for Literature and Art has held many international and national academic seminars, such as the First Academic Seminar on New Issues of Literary Theory and Teaching Reform (2011), Reflections on Academic Paths of Literary Theory in the Past One Hundred Years (2012), the International Academic Seminar on “From Text to Image, From Image to Text” (2013), the 2015 South-North Advanced Forum on Learning Plans of the Past One Hundred Years (2015), the Symposium on Tong Qingbing’s Academic Thoughts and Release Ceremony of The Collected Works of Tong Qingbing (2016), the Academic Symposium on Theoretical Exploration and Current Practice of the Poetics of Culture and the Kick-off Meeting of the Major Programs of Humanities and Social Sciences During the 13th Five-Year Plan Period (2017), and the Second Academic Seminar on New Issues and Teaching of Literary Theory (2018).


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